Update

So as you know, I finished the 30 days of this challenge and wrapped it up feeling….ok-ish. Nothing stellar. It’s been a couple more days of blargs but I’m realizing I’m just going to have to fine-tune my own diet and figure out over time/through trial-and-error what works for me. I’m still undecided about almond meal, since nut consumption (almonds or otherwise) hasn’t seemed to bother me at all BUT that epic pizza night seemed to slay my body. My husband wants to have another pizza night tonight and I’m not sure if I should try “our” pizza again or not. Risk it?

On a good note, I did decide to add some dairy back in to my life and haven’t really noticed any negative effects. I had a small latte the other day and felt fine, plus I’ve had some chocolate every day for the past 3. I need my choco fix! I found some 85% Organic chocolate that one of the bloggers recommended and MAN is it delicious. I mean soooooo good. But it’s going to be a pricey habit, since I could easily eat 1/2 a bar in a day (and that’s with willpower working overtime!) and the bars are $3+ a pop. So I’m going to have to figure out ways to get my fix that aren’t so indulgent!

This morning I had 1/2 a small cup of Fage yogurt to test the waters and everything seemed to slosh along nicely. It was an experience trying to eat the whole fat version of yogurt, I practically needed a knife and fork. But a teensy bit of organic raw honey (that one surprised me – really good!) and some fresh berries made it palatable and I’m sure I’ll come to really enjoy it. Time to break out a paleo granola recipe!

In good spirits today about a lifetime of paleo, we’ll see how my emotions ebb and flow. Just a few days ago, I wanted to throw in the towel and go back to “easy” eating since this all felt so worthless. But now that I’m feeling a little better again and noticing some of the positive changes (deeper sleep, fewer allergies/stuffiness, etc.), I don’t want to give it up. Plus, just a little effort has rewarded me with plenty of recipes for clean versions of food I miss/enjoy. It’ll just come down to picking and choosing, I think, when I “cheat” since there are way too many opportunities! We had a party invite tonight, we’re hosting a bbq tomorrow, I owe a friend a birthday drink/dessert, etc. I refuse to suffer the consequences of going off paleo every time, but I’ll definitely want to indulge now and then. How long do I have to wait until there are paleo desserts at my local cafe?  My husband says his friends who introduced us to this go out once/twice per year and just eat whatever the heck they want. For them, apparently, since it is so rare, their bodies don’t go all haywire and short out. I can see us adopting a similar policy and then also going off in much smaller ways a little more frequently. Because sometimes, a girl just needs a beer.

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Oh, was that all?

Well, Whole30 is done. This wraps up 30 days and I’m left feeling….meh. Not because the challenge wasn’t a good one, but because I thought it would end on a high note. That’d I’d be feeling fantastic physically, prepared for the “real world” mentally and equipped with the know-how to EAT RIGHT from here on out.

Instead, I feel a little bit impotent.  It took me all the way until Day 26 (?) to hit a real snag, but I absolutely did in the form of an almond-flour-pizza crust.  It was Whole30 compliant and tasted great, but I’ve been suffering ever since.  Last week I was feeling quite good, so much so that I wondered if I ever wanted to get off of the Whole30 challenge.  Ever since the weekend, though, major blargs.  I’ve tried to explain it away a couple of different ways, but I really think it just comes down to the overdose of almond flour.  Apparently some people can’t tolerate too much, and I must be one of them.  But what that means is that it’s Day 30 and I don’t know which way I’m going.  Do I stay on it a while longer, to get back to that place of relative healthiness?  Do I need to start over completely?  Do I just move on, since I’ve done the 30 days and I’m quite interested in shifting at least over to a Paleo lifestyle now (including at least honey, greek yogurt and CHOCOLATE?)  I’d really like to do that last one, and I had pinned on my mental calendar that tomorrow I would have yogurt for breakfast and a latte with lunch.  The book says to introduce dairy in this way and I’m quite game!  But on the flip side, I really want to know if the dairy “hurts” me or not, and I’m afraid I won’t be able to accurately gauge if I’m not feeling my best before the reintroduction.  What to do?

The funny part is that while this lifestyle is by NO MEANS easy yet, it has definitely become a habit and it almost feels easier right now to stay on it than to start picking it apart.  I want to keep figuring out meals, ideas, ways to make this easier, ways to stay varied.  It’s been a good vegetable week in that we’ve had some new ones, which keeps me teased enough to want to continue.  Not that I couldn’t continue while also adding a bit of this-and-that as well!  But I don’t want to fall completely backwards either.  So.

Tomorrow might be a game-time decision for me.  I had a crappy food day today (up until a surprisingly yummy dinner my hubs revealed in the slow cooker) so tomorrow I’m not opposed to the “usual” vegg breakfast, I’m excited for my tuna salad, and we have a Paleo delivery service that will supply dinner starting tomorrow for 10days.  So really I don’t NEED to change anything up just yet.  But we’ll see.  I promised myself some dairy tomorrow and if the morning requires it….dairy I may have.  I don’t know how it will make me feel but I can tell you for DAMN sure that I will like the way it tastes!

Latest nonsense

It’s a hazy Sunday (in my brain, not outside where it is actually quite lovely!) and I have just a minute to make three notes on my Whole30 journey.

1.  I love my fridge.  Not the actual mechanics of it – though they are are perfectly adequate – but the way it looks when I open it up. Immediately in my face are two huge plastic cartons of greens, and then a quick scan registers in my brain just produce, some meat, eggs, various leftovers and farm milk for my boys.  It looks so happy and clear and devoid of the crap it used to house.  I know it is not “perfect” by any stretch, but man it looks so much healthier than it used to look and that makes me feel great.

2.  Maybe Whole30 was right about “paleo” breads and such.  I don’t know.  I still don’t buy into the reasoning behind avoiding certain foods merely because they make us think of other foods.  If the actual ingredients are acceptable by Whole30 standards, then the food is automatically acceptable by yours truly.  But last night I did make a paleo pizza crust for us – nothing but Whole30 ingredients – and I was soooo proud when we sat to eat.  It tasted much better than the last attempt at “pizza” and felt like a treat even though it was perfectly within the bounds of the challenge.  Totally worth the effort!  But sure enough, today I am really paying a price.  I can’t be 100% sure it’s the pizza that did me in, since it also had ground pork (which I’m not confident I have ever consumed before) and I did eat till I was VERY full.  Plus, I passed out shortly after eating, rather than the couple of hours later that I was “supposed” to.  But in my heart, I know somehow it was the pizza – maybe just too much almond meal in my body?  I felt pretty crummy upon wakeup and so far today, at 1pm, the only food I have been able to choke down has been one single carrot – and that was just because I wanted to see if eating would make me feel any better.  I’m going to have to really keep an eye on this stuff.

3.  Women are ridiculous.  Not me, of course!  I just mean women in general and our obsession with weight.  I saw my mother yesterday and the Whole30 challenge was not a surprise to her – I had seen her the week before and already explained the what/why/how.  At the time, she had invisibly rolled her eyes and silently shot energy waves at me to get over myself and my “healthy eating.”  Yet yesterday, she must’ve recognized a slight slimness in my frame and realized that Whole30 *could* be a way to drop a couple of pounds.  I still maintain that I have lost next to nothing – *possibly* as much as 5lbs (though it really all depends on the minute I choose to step on the scale), but more likely 2-3lbs.  Miniscule.  I have noticed that my clothes fit a little looser and some dresses I ordered to try on for an upcoming celebration were all too big.  So yes, I think I’ve slimmed a tiny bit.  But nothing drastic by any measure.  Yet, when my mother saw me and saw that I looked a little trimmer, she threw a backhanded compliment my way, “I love you, but, you’ve really lost too much weight.  You are just too skinny.”  This is NOT ACTUAL CONCERN.  First of all, I am nowhere near the stick-and-bones anyone would be worried about.  Second of all, when a woman says “You are too skinny” or “You’ve lost too much weight” what they really mean to say is, “Oh!  You’ve slimmed down a bit!  Something you are doing is working and I am jealous!  I want to do it, too!”  Sure enough, she kept up her “concern face” long enough to grill me about the specifics of our diet, what we are eating for meals, and how she might adopt changes.  I guess that’s what I wanted back when I asked “Will the Weight Matter,” but really the whole thing is insane.  If a guy said to another guy “Dude, you’ve lost too much weight” there would be no hidden compliment or agenda in there.  He’d be expressing concern.  If a woman says that, the recipient is supposed to glow with pride and thank the concerned citizen, followed by a declaration of just how wrong she is and how really, it’s nothing, I’ve actually gained weight and it’s disgusting how much I eat.  Sigh.

 

 

Whole twerty

This has been a weird week. We’re at the beach on vaca which is terrific but between the forever day at the amusement park, the lack of proper food packing/preparation and my vaca-mind trying to take over food choices, it’s just been weird. I’m not saying I was some crazy healthy eater before, but in comparison to vaca-mind, my regular self was pretty darn strong. Vaca-mind rationalizes everything (sure, pizza for breakfast is totally acceptable! I’m on vaca!) and views treats as an essential part of the experience (think: roadside ice cream, junk food from the local convenience store, french-fried delivery after the kids are asleep.)  And chocolate. Lots of chocolate. 

I realize that my connection to some of this food really is emotional, but after 25 days of this challenge, apparently that’s never going to change. The truth of the matter is, I enjoy it. It’s just that simple. Call it what you will, but I love indulging in a dark choco treat at night & it makes me happy. Isn’t that worth something? Won’t it make everything just a little bit better – happier mommy/wife/life and all that? And when it’s all calculated out – the stress, the sleep, the nutrition, the happiness quotient – is it definitive that the “best” eating habits (if we assume these are them) overrule the other factors? And more importantly, do I care?

This challenge has been valuable in many ways. I see so much potential in vegetables now and am so happy to be consuming so much produce. We had to make TWO trips to Whole Foods in just this one tiny beach week simply because as a family we consumed so much d*mn fruit & veg goodness. This pleases me on so many levels. My husband and I can eat entire veg-centric meals and feel happy & sated from them.  Although we still feel tired/drained, I do believe our sleep has improved somewhat. My husband snores less and I’m sleeping more deeply so I hear it less. This is good for our marriage!  And my body is definitely running differently without wheat and such clogging it up.  But the reality is, this is no panacea and I don’t feel so amazing that I feel compelled to stay on it. I definitely want to continue it in many ways, but I’m looking forward to resume my “normal” food experiences, too. At this point, I think the future for me looks like many of the same meals, but mixed in with some things I just F*ng enjoy – the occasional latte, the dark chocolate evenings, some versions of bread that I think work for me/my body (I’ve done well in the past with Ezekiel bread), yogurt/homemade granola some mornings. A more realistic lifestyle that means I can still go out for my two drinks a month or have an occasional mommy b*tch session over Starbucks. Healthier me, but still happy me. Because apparently I’m on vaca and I really miss my vaca treats.

My husband is awesome

I was thinking again today how hard this would be if my husband & I weren’t both on board.  Or more than that, if we were both committed to the food change but my husband didn’t have the time/energy/interest to help me figure this damn thing out. My SIL remarked today that she thought it was so great we were doing Whole 30 and I know part of her must want to give it a shot, since she was the first person I had ever met who had voluntarily dropped sugar for a period of time.  But then I imagined my not-so-helpful-brother (sorry, Jeff!) having to be sold the idea and – should he agree with the premise and get on board – having to be fed.  Like many men (?sorry to stereotype but that’s what it seems at least around here), he doesn’t cook and doesn’t wish to have any part in the thinking, planning or preparation.  It is up to my SIL to proffer something before him and he will either deign to ingest it or complain.  This challenge is HARD and requires WORK, and I know that I would not be succeeding/we would not be succeeding if it were left entirely to either of us to figure it all out.

We are headed to the beach next week for a family vacation and, as proof of the title, my husband took it upon himself to pick out recipes for the week’s dinners and even prepared a grocery list of what we need to buy, what we should bring, etc.  This is his strong suit and definitely my not-strong suit.  I might be better at figuring out which swimmie tops will be cute on the boys for a given day and pack accordingly, but planning out the meals and which kitchen mechanics we need to bring and making a list of ingredients….uuuggghhh.  That sounds horrible and would take me forever.  Now we will have a plan and if it is me that cooks, as I often do, no worries!  Happy to feed us.  It’s already been thought out and I can count on the fact that if the recipe calls for the food processor (as, let’s face it, they ALL DO) he’ll have already thought to pack it.

I’m optimistic that the vacation won’t be too hard (in Whole 30 terms) since we’re staying at a rental house (so it should have a full, working kitchen).  I think we can carry on pretty similarly to how we have been eating here.  Plus, with the meals being so filling, it might be a bit easier to go to the beach since we won’t be concerned with bringing snacks for ourselves.  And since our boys are still so young and go to bed still so early, we won’t feel like we’re “missing out” in terms of taking them out to dinner or anything.  They just want to play in the sand as much as humanely possible, so they won’t care in the least if they are eating at the house or complaining about what’s on the menu when we go out.

We shall see!  Oh and tomorrow should be interesting, too.  It’s my soon-to-be-other-SIL’s bridal shower which is going to be overflowing with cheese, bagels, quiche, desserts, champagne and all-things-delicious.  I don’t think I’m going to feel too tempted (although I do love myself some chocolate mousse), but the harder part might be fending off all the old-lady-relatives and family friends when they try to shove food at me.  I suspect I’ll be explaining no fewer than three dozens times what I am doing and why I’m turning down the wine-and-cheese part of the shower.  Here’s hoping I can score a colored wine glass and just fill it with water, no one being the wiser.  And if there are enough veggies & fruit to snack on, hopefully no one will notice that I’m avoiding everything else!

One final note, though, about tomorrow…..I KNOW I shouldn’t care (see “will the weight matter?”) but it does irk me a tiny bit that I’m not the glowy, lean version-of-self I thought I would be this far into the challenge.  I understood a few days in that it would take time, and I’m not asking for or expecting huge results.  But I did think that by now there would be SOME noticeable difference that I could flaunt in my own small way.  Nope.  I do feel overall pretty good and moderately better than a couple of weeks ago, but definitely NOT the fireworks I was expecting.  Oh well.

Too bad I love bacon so much…

Because otherwise, I might need to rethink this whole carnivore thing (at least for the purposes of this food challenge.)  Let me explain:  I feel a little ripped off by Whole30.  Today I read that vegetarians are allowed to eat greek yogurt during their Whole30s, with the reasoning being that it is so hard for them to get enough protein.  But wait?  <<I>> want greek yogurt!  In fact, I’m salivating a little thinking of its cool creaminess.  I think I’m even off of sugar enough to eat it with just some fruit, nuts and seeds – no honey.  Do you know how much better this would make my mornings, my days, my existence?!  Much.  Much, much, much.

The reason this all came about is because I’ve had another few days feeling lousy.  I really did not expect this far into the Whole30 challenge to be feeling anything other than energetically spectacular.  But there I am, feeling heavy and slow and bloated again, because I’m eating So.Much.Damn.Meat.  My body is not responding well to that – I guess I’m not a “real” cavewoman after all.  Today was the first day I successfully cut back on meat consumption, and I actually do feel a tiny bit better than I did yesterday.  I had some lox and sweet potato “chips” (thank you, microwave and parchment paper!) for breakfast, a handful of grapes with my sons during their snack, a salad with tuna for lunch, and then some cauliflower “fried rice” for dinner – with mostly just cauliflower, egg & snowpea and only a *little* chicken.  Better.  But I’m not positive I have enough “low meat” options available to me, plus I’m cooking for more than just myself.  And my husband is the complete opposite of me in his meatiness.  I suspect he could eat meat-with-a-side-of-meat most meals!

So today I was surfing around on my phone, looking for alternatives, and that’s when I discovered the “secret” of the greek yogurt.  Rip-off!  Now, I’m not willing to toss in the towel just yet and add the yogurt in when I’ve already come this far without it.  It’s already Day 18 (?) and I’m certain I can make it.  But I wonder if this continued yogurt-abstinence is worth it, given that the first thing I’m going to do after 30 days is reintroduce it.  I hope that my body is thankful for this temporary breakup, but I’m fearing that it’s the opposite.  I guess the next couple of days will tell — if I’m able to ease up enough on meat to feel better, I’ll proceed.  If not, maybe I will have to pretend that I’m a vegetarian.  At least before 9am.

 

 

Groggy

Well, either Whole30 really does have me on a rollercoaster of energy (she’s up! she’s down!  the highest peak!  the lowest valley!) or another culprit is to blame.  I’m thinking it’s a combination of both.  It’s not that I fail to recognize the impact of a hunk of dramamine I bit off this morning, necessitated by the arrival at our boat launch only to find the boat rocking the dock up and down.  I get it – that made my brain as choppy as the open water.  But I don’t want to put all the blame on 1/2 of a 1/2 serving of meclazine.  I’ve found this food challenge impossibly squidgy to nail down and I swear every OTHER day I feel good.  Guess I how I feel the rest of the days?

Bad/tired/hungry/weird days like today leave me feeling far less optimistic about the future than chipper days like the last time I wrote.  I’m feeling a little grumbly/dizzy, and I reallllllly want to sip a gingerale to make me feel better.  Even if it only works in my mind, and produces no actual positive benefit to my body.  I’m feeling crankytired, so I reallllly want to enjoy something sweet and comforting to boost my spirit and temporarily spike my energy.  And I’m OVER the forever-long cooking process (not to mention the 30,000 minutes my husband & I each seem to spend washing dishes, cookware, prep bowls and the like), so I realllllly want to grab a pre-made granola bar, fix myself a sandwich on a napkin (sans plate means sans dishwashing!) or go to Starbucks to eat both of those things with my grande nonfat latte.  

I realized today that my kids are “suffering” a little, too.  Not because we are restricting their intake to a similarly small pool of foodstuffs, but because:  a)mommy & daddy are always cooking (my son tonight asked me what recipe I was looking for in Well Fed and when I asked how he knew it was a recipe book he replied, “Daddy is ALWAYS looking in there for a recipe”); b)the things we are always cooking offer no appeal in taste or smell, apparently, to my children (they are always whining about the smell!); c)dinner is now a slap-together-something-for-the-kids affair, since we end up preparing and eating dinner the two of us much later.  We enjoyed those 5pm powwows over the table, even if one kid was always spilling something and the other couldn’t stop talking long enough to take a bite.  Even if the food was “semi homemade” and probably 10X less healthy (with 10X more sodium).  It was nice to have and share a meal, rather than sit and watch them eat and try to remember not to instinctively lick the mac-and-cheese spoon.

Hopefully as we adjust after the 30 days, we’ll find better ways to eat/cook/schedule ourselves back to the dinner table.  But right now all I can think about is how tired and blargy I feel AGAIN, and how that makes me realllllly want some hot chocolate.  Mmmmmm.